Does Insite save lives?

Of course it saves some lives.

However, that’s the wrong question.

The right question is whether Insite is the best way to spend $3,000,000 per year to help addicts. Would another approach save as many (or more) lives and have a greater impact on quality of life for addicts, their loved ones and the community? I believe so.

To provide a point of reference, the Dawn Farm budget is $3.3 million and for that sum we provide 18 beds of detox/outreach, 49 beds of residential (including treatment for pregnant women), 140 beds of sober housing, outpatient services, adult adolescent/family services, jail outreach, community education services and a stigma reduction campaign.

8 thoughts on “Does Insite save lives?

  1. I see what the other commenter means, but also, wish they didn’t have that comma in the sign. It should be 100s, not 100’s, or rather…wish it wasn’t that high of a number. Just am a stickler on punctuation…sorry. : (


  2. When put this way, it does make you pause. Just to play devil’s advocate for a second…

    If there is a budget to provide interventions for high risk groups that won’t engage with recovery-oriented treatment and that intervention can be evidenced as life saving, then is this not a legitimate approach that could sit alongside other options?

    The question that remains in my mind is how you then create a hopeful, aspirational injection-site service which at its heart is recovery oriented and not palliative or enabling.


    1. Absolutely.

      These can be difficult decisions in the context of scarce resources.

      This is why the whole “evidence says…” thing drives me nuts. Of course we want to use an approach that achieves our goals but our goals derive from our values and what we believe is possible.

      As for how to do it in a hopeful, aspirational way, I worry it may not be possible for harm-reductionists to do it well and recovery-oriented providers may have to provide more of these HR services ourselves.

      I was thinking about this yesterday. It seems that most American HR springs from AIDS activism. Ironically, early AIDS activism was animated by an aggressive push for access to experimental treatments that could lead to recoveries and cures.


  3. I think the nub of this is down to values, attitudes and beliefs. If there is a lack of evidence of recovery in services (the clinical fallacy) and no role modelling of recovering people and we are prepared to settle for the “keeping people alive” level (pretty essential but much more is possible), then the opportunities for full recovery will be limited.

    I am all for choice, but it needs to be informed choice, made in an environment of hope and aspiration.


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